Dogs suffering from cancer need special attention on its nutrition. The nutrition is its best weapon in its arsenal in fighting the cancer. Malnutrition is too risky for them that can take them closer to inevitable. You don’t want that.
Unlike earlier times when it was believed that all was lost when you are hit by cancer. Now, it is not so. You still have control over this deadly disease and if lucky overcome as well. The diet has a major role in deciding whether it is recovery or down slide that is at the end of the day.
Cancer and weight loss in dogs
The major problem with cancer of any type is that it leads to huge weight loss. Only the proper could help the suffering dog in its health, even if it is not up to the mark. The dog needs its energy and the cancer does not help with it either. Not only do cancer causes weight loss it causes loss of appetite also to rub the wound. The location of the tumor also plays its dirty games in preventing the poor thing from eating properly. All we could do is to try to make them at as much as possible.
The right food type is the key for cancer. Cancer cells can also feed on the nutrition that we provide for the dog. What YOU need to know is that you might be feeding the cancer cells all the while than the good cells. Here are some of the best food for the dog to improve its health and also the mention of the wrong food.
What to feed during dog cancer
Energy is most important. Since the dog is already at the poor of its health and too lethargic, anything that you feed is going to give him energy to survive. Forcing down the food will not achieve anything. Trick him if you need, manipulate him or whatever you do, make him eat at least a few morsels from time to time. Now comes the important part, what to feed?
- Fat is the primary source of energy in dog cancer diet. The cancer cells will not be able to use fat for their growth but the good cells can always capitalize on them for energy. Choose the ideal fat to feed them. Omega fatty acids, flaxseed oil etc are good choices. The cancer cells will not be able to use these compounds and for the icing on the cake, they can actually help stop the growth of the tumor. Just make sure that the dog diet is high in fat, in fact, it should be around 40-50% of fat in the diet.Make sure that no omega 6 fatty acids are fed to them. Choose salmon and other cold water fishes to include in the dogs diet to fulfill the fat requirement. Get the omega 3 fatty acid supplements if needed.
- Proteins can be used for muscle building in dogs. They might have lost all their muscle due to the diseases. Once again, proteins are so not the favorite food of cancer cells so safe from that as well. The cancer diet should have a moderate amount of protein in the diet. This makes the other major percentage, creeping up to 40% of the balanced diet.Give importance to amino acids like arginine, glutamine that can help in boosting the immunity and digestive tract health. The latter is a relief from gastrointestinal problems suffered during chemo.
Animal protein is what the dog needs to have faster activity. Choose from chicken, sardines, eggs, hamburger, and turkey etc make good choice. You could also give it some cottage cheese as well. Beware of these high fat proteins if the dog is suffering from any digestive system related troubles.
- Complex carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the worst food type to be fed to a sick dog suffering from cancer. The cancer cells feast on carbohydrates. So you will have to keep it in check. But at the same time, their body needs carbs and the best way is to find some complex carbohydrate molecules that are difficult to breakdown and can provide long term energy. Such ideal carbohydrates would be the likes of apples, banana, berries, peas, oatmeal, brown rice, honey etc. What is most important is to have the least amount of carbohydrates in the diet.
- Vegetables: Do not foget about the vegetables. Add a few selected from spinach, carrot, capsicum, celery etc. Also include the fruits such as grapes, orange, pear etc. Remember to remove the seeds, especially of apples that are toxic to dogs. There are quite a few recipes available to mix these fruits and vegetables in the diet of the dogs.
The sick dog would need the assistance of certain supplements to boost and maintain the health. Those needed supplements are various vitamins, certain amino acids, omega fatty acids etc.
- Vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins to fight cancer. This vitamin can put a stop on the cell growth which is a blessing for the disease cancer. Over dose of this vitamin can be harmful so keep the dose as 10000 IU/Kg of food, which makes only a small amount.
- Green tea supplements contain high amount of antioxidants that can enhance the natural ability to fight cancer. Feed those Green tea extract supplements to the dog on a full stomach. But stay away from it during chemotherapy as the compound in this can interfere with the treatment.
- Spirulina and chlorella supplements will also do good as they have all the essential nutrients in it.
- Herbal supplements such as Cat’s claw, Milk thistle etc are also excellent anti cancer supplements. They also have some immune boosting and anti-inflammatory compounds in them.
What not to feed the dogs
Stay away from all kinds of grains during cancer. The cancer cells would be waiting for the carbs from the grains to grow faster. Put a stop on this if you want to resist the cancer growth. Rice, wheat, corn etc are to be avoided. So check the can before you serve the food. If it shows any of the food that falls under the grain category, it is not fit for cancer diet.
How to serve food?
Simply serving the food to the dogs will not do. They are really not interested to have any food. You will have to do some persuasion to make them at least taste it. Here are some tips and tricks to invite the dogs and the right way to serve them the food.
- Warm not hot: Heat the food before you serve. A few seconds in the microwave should be able to remove the coldness from the food. Just have it around warm. Hot food will not attract dogs. Just heat it enough to have the aroma of the food is flowing out. Remember to mix and turn the food before you serve as the hot spots can burn the doggy’s mouth.
- Moisture rich: Have plenty of moisture added in the food. Moisture in any form would do. Switch to canned food instead of the dry one. If your dog is fond of the dry food then mix some of the wet food with the former.
- Small meals is best than a larger one. This keeps the freshness of the food. There is no guarantee that the dog is going to eat the dish empty, so serve little and make it frequent to keep up its energy.
- Different location and flavor: Adding different flavor into the food will make it smell different and might attract the canines. Also have it served at different locations. They can be curious when they want and is most likely to taste it serving there than at their usual place.
- No added medication in food: Never add the medicines in the food. This will kill the effects and the dose may not be complete if the dog does not eat it fully. Force down the medication if you want but make sure it has in one way or another. Sometimes, you may have to rely on appetite stimulants to make them eat. If that is the only way, you got to try it.
Home cooked Vs commercial food
It is common belief that the commercial food is inferior to the homemade food. In quality, this is true but may not be in the case of nutrition. Homemade food will not have the complete nutrition as the commercial food for dogs have. The commercial food will have added nutrients in it to fulfill the needs of the sick dog.
The cancer patient needs as much nutrients as fast as possible. In this case the homemade food might lag behind. At the same time, one must be careful in choosing the commercial food. So talk to the vet and see which food can help the dog faster and better.
Bottom line is that it may be hard to prevent cancer as there are many ways and we will be clueless as to keep vigil on which account. The best thing to do is to prepare and support the dog’s health with a balanced diet. There might also be a relapse. To avoid these situations, a proper dog cancer diet has a major role. There are no shortcuts; the only way is a healthy body to fight. Feed your dog, you owe at least that much.
Originally posted 2016-03-05 00:00:56.